Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller was an architect, inventor, futurist, author, philosopher and public speaker, constantly in demand, travelling widely and famously always wearing three wrist watches: one for the time zone he'd just been in, one for the time of where he was at that particular time, and one for the time of where on the planet he was going next. This article will provide some background on Buckminster Fuller and his ideas, before explaining the concept of Spaceship Earth in more detail.

It is a little known fact that at one point in his early life Bucky was depressed and suicidal - having nothing to lose at this point he decided to spend his life living a self-made experiment: to spend the rest of his days devoted “to the betterment of mankind”.

This epiphany saw him go from depressed and suicidal to being granted 28 United States patents and numerous Honorary Doctorate degrees from universities worldwide; having a lasting impact on futurist thought with his never ending optimism for humanity and the unique role which humanity has to play in nature. He also invented the geodesic dome (based on the laws which nature itself uses to create structures from the outer shells of viruses to whole galaxies), and coined the enduring term Spaceship Earth.

Bucky refused to be bound by conventional thought and the compartmentalization of knowledge found in universities and society at large: always placing himself and all of humanity in the universal context. We are living in a universe after all and he was constantly frustrated that wider society did not think in terms of the Global and the Universal but was instead largely based on nationalistic, narrow minded thought which did not actually match up with what humanity knows about where we are (on the planet Earth) and what the vast majority of us are actually trying to do (live the best lives that we can with each other and with nature). Although he was optimistic for the future, seeing that this understanding of “humanity in universe” would become the basis for all actions of society in the future. With increasing awareness of climate change and other global issues which confront humanity it is possible to see that perhaps this new awareness of living on a planet is starting to disseminate into wider society and guide our global actions as Buckminster Fuller predicted.

The amazing thing about Bucky is that although he was at the peak of his thinking in the 1970's his ideas are more relevant today then ever before and he was way ahead of the curve when it came to a planetary awareness, understanding the impact of the internet (before it was invented) and the rapid pace of technological change humanity is now undergoing and how we can increasingly “get more done with less”.

Spaceship Earth

“People say to me that I wonder what it'd be like to be on a spaceship and I say you don't really know what you're doing… Everybody is an astronaut who all live aboard a beautiful little spaceship called Earth.”

The above quote from Fuller sums up his idea of Spaceship Earth.in a nutshell. We are all astronauts and we are all living on a Spaceship which is simultaneously spinning on its axis at 1070 miles per hour, orbiting the Sun at 67000 miles per hour, in a galaxy which is rotating with us at 490000 miles per hour, and travelling with its galaxy towards the constellation Leo at about 1000 miles per hour.

This idea might not seem so revolutionary now, but for Bucky this wasn't a fact to be learned and forgotten about, but the very foundation of a universal worldview (universeview) which is aware of humanity's place in universe, how we are all on board this Spaceship we have called Earth, how we are all actually made of matter which was born in stars, and how we all participate in this eternal dance of the cosmos.

Next time you hear the term Spaceship Earth really think about what it means (you're an astronaut on a living spaceship hurtling through space), and know that Bucky came up with it first. For Buckminster Fuller a complete (not superficial) realization and feeling of this fact is the first step in really understanding where we come from (universe) and what we are really capable of (anything). We are an intelligent species living on a planetary body in space immersed in the universe (and of universe) and able to change Spaceship Earth's surface, and destiny, at will.

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